Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October 25th, 2022...when in doubt...KISS...

Greetings ghouls and boils,

Well, last night I fired up an old classic "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special". I remember watching this when I was a kid as I was a big fan of KISS and it was a big deal that they were going to be on the show. I have this on DVD now and even though the special is pretty impossible to show to my kids (they don't get it and Paul's humor is...well, 1976ish) I try and put it on every few years or so.  Tonight my 12 year old watched it with me and I got the expected groans.

From Wikipedia, "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is a Halloween-themed television special starring Paul Lynde broadcast October 29, 1976 on ABC. It featured guest stars Margaret Hamilton in a reprisal of her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Also guest starring are Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Florence Henderson, rock band Kiss, Billy Barty as Gallows the Butler, Betty White and, in an unbilled surprise appearance, Donny and Marie Osmond."

If you need a FULL recap of the show, Wikipedia does a great job...

"In succession, Paul (as himself) begins singing to celebrate Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day but is interrupted each time when his housekeeper Margaret (Margaret Hamilton) tells him it is none of these and prods him into admitting it is a holiday he dreads, Halloween. The opening credits roll, and Lynde gives a stand-up monologue explaining, among other jokes, that his childhood obesity had traumatized him into hating the holiday. In keeping with a promise to Margaret to enjoy the holiday, he sings a special version of his signature song "Kids" in which he actually claims to like them until a group of kids in devil costumes (among them Donny and Marie Osmond) torment him.

Margaret offers to take Paul away from the kids and drives him to Gloomsbury Manor, where her sister (Billie Hayes) resides. When they arrive, Paul realizes that both are witches, Wilhelmina Witchiepoo and the Wicked Witch of the West. A third witch, "good witch" Miss Halloween (Betty White) arrives, disappointed that Margaret had brought Lynde instead of the promised Paul Newman (or, for that matter, any other person named Paul), then departs. Believing that they have been unjustly given a bad reputation, they commission Paul to serve as a public relations expert to improve their image. To seal the deal, they offer him three wishes.

In his first wish, Paul wishes to be a trucker and is reinvented as "Big Red," a crass, red-haired, CB-slang-talking, rhinestone-studded trucker engaged to waitress "Kinky Pinky" Tuscadero (Roz Kelly). He soon finds that Pinky has two-timed him and has also promised another trucker (Tim Conway) her hand in marriage; the two, along with Pinky's boss (Billy Barty), soon enter a battle to prove their worth to her, which Paul wins with his large wad of money from a movie advance. Big Red and Pinky marry as the diner turns into a raucous hoedown.

He returns to the manor, and after KISS performs "Detroit Rock City" and Paul and the witches sit through a boring game of Monopoly, Paul offhandedly wishes he were in the Sahara Desert and is transformed into a "chic sheik" lusting after snow queen Lady Cecily Westinghouse (Florence Henderson). After a difficult seduction, just as he wins her over with a cockatoo, his nemesis Seymour of the foreign legion (Conway) reveals the lady was bait for a trap and takes the sheik away. He trades the cockatoo for his freedom and comes back to her, a deal Seymour accepted because "a man gets mighty lonely in the foreign legion."

Pleased with his two wishes, he offers his third wish to the witches, who wish to go to a disco. With Paul as host and Henderson as guest performer ("That Old Black Magic"), the manor turns into a swinging discotheque. Kiss returns and performs two more songs, "Beth" (Peter Criss solo at the piano) and "King of the Night Time World." The show's finale has the entire cast assembling as Paul and Pinky sing Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" (gender-neutralized to "Disco Baby"). Paul thanks the audience and home viewers "for making (him) feel wanted" and implies that he might not appear in another special for a prolonged period of time, before reprising "Disco Baby" with the cast as a perplexed KISS looks on from the rear."

If you are a 70's kid like me you can probably make it through this show. It's fun to see KISS and my daughter enjoyed that part the most.

Happy Haunting,

Mark Harvey

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